Since the late seventies, Trimble have been at the forefront of the tech revolution, pushing the wave forward with their global positioning and navigation systems. We all kind of owe them a thank you for every job, appointment and dinner date we’ve made it to with the help of our nav-enabled smart phones.

In recent years, we’ve seen them team up with different industries and companies to bring a range of innovative solutions to the world. They’ve been working with Caterpillar since 2002 to create next-gen guidance and control systems for the construction industry. We were lucky enough to get a demo of the latest advances in this technology at the 2017 Diesel Dirt and Turf Expo.

Automatic skills upgrade for any operator

Westrac had a big chunk of the DDT field cordoned off to allow people to jump in and operate their Cat 323 FL Excavators which are fitted with Trimble’s latest technology. Westrac rep, Roberto Manna, explained the Sitech Trimble 3D mapping and Caterpillar AccuGrade™ combo will take any operator’s skills to the next level.

“It’ll turn an average operator into a final trim operator.”

The machine is about as close as you can get to being fool-proof, controlling the boom and bucket rotation to ensure you get it perfect, automatically. You don’t need anyone out on the ground doing measurements because it’s all done from the cab with the 3D mapping system. According to Roberto, more and more customers are switching to this system as it significantly reduces costs while bumping up productivity.

How fool-proof is the system?

Humans are fond of exaggeration and even automated control systems like Trimble aren’t immune from our tall tales. Along with the inception of cruise control in the seventies, came an urban legend about a driver taking the automation too seriously, setting the speed, and then having a nap and crashing.

While this story isas far as we knownothing more than an entertaining lie, it does highlight a real concern with automation: people taking the autopilot concept a touch too far. While the Trimble will amp up the quality of any operator’s work, you still need to use your head when planning, programming and taking the controls.

Is the Trimble 3D mapping system unique?

Sitech’s Trimble isn’t the only system of its kind. Devices like TopCon offer similar specs and, just as there are businesses and operators who would never deviate from their Trimble, there are those who swear by TopCon. The only notable difference comes from those who have used both systems. They say the two are close but the Trimble appears to be a touch more accurate.

The Technology That Can Help You Fool-Proof Your Excavator
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The Technology That Can Help You Fool-Proof Your Excavator
We test out the capabilities of the Caterpillar 323 FL excavators, fitted with a combo of Trimble 3D mapping system and Cat's auto grading technology.
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